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College hurdles in Smith's future

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Hanahan’s Amari Smith clears a hurdle in the 2019 state championship.

One of the cornerstones in Hanahan High School’s girls track and field program is headed to Limestone College to further her athletic career at the next level.

Senior Amari Smith, who has been in the HHS program for five years, is a hurdler and sprinter for the Hawks. She’s also competed for East Coast Track and Field in the winter and summer over the years, earning the title of all-American in the 2019 Hershey USATF Youth Indoor Championships in the 55-meter hurdles in the 18-U age group.

“She’s an excellent athlete but also an excellent person and a student,” East Coast Track and Field coach Mike Duffy said. “She’s coming from a great program. Anywhere she goes she’s going to be an asset. That’s for sure.”

Limestone is a Div. II program in Gaffney. Duffy believes Smith has the ability to develop into a Div. I athlete and possibly transfer down the road if she wants to.

“I think going to Limestone is a great place for her to start,” Duffy said. “All athletes aren’t ready to step out into the big schools far away from home. I think she made the right decision for her. I believe she’ll make them better. She’s going to work hard. She’s very attentive and she has the will and drive to succeed.”

Smith was a state runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles last spring and was eyeing a run at the top spot this season before schools and sports were shut down due to COVID-19 concerns. She had climbed to the top of the awards podium March 7 in the Lowcountry Invitational at Woodland High School and March 14 in the Azalea Invitational at Summerville High School.

Like any incoming freshman, Smith will head to Limestone with work to do to compete at a higher level. Bigger, stronger and faster athletes await. She’ll get speed work in the short sprints and maybe even the 400.

“She has all the skill and technique but she’s got to get faster,” Duffy said. “She is absolutely capable.”

In the classroom, Smith plans to pursue nursing.

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